10 Healthy Meals You Can Prepare in 40 Minutes or Less

8 min read

Follow these healthy meal recipes for when you need to prepare dinner in a jiffy.

10. Grilled Veggie Pizza

Vegetarian Pizza
Source: Pixabay

You can’t go wrong with pizza. After all, it is America’s favorite food. And, while pizza isn’t considered a nutritious meal, you can make a few tweaks to the ingredients, like Diane Halferty of Corpus Christi, Texas, did, to make it a healthy meal option.

Halferty sent in this recipe to Taste of Home magazine:

Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

1 medium red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 large sweet red pepper, halved, stemmed and seeded
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
1 yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 prebaked 12-inch thin whole wheat pizza crust
3 tablespoons jarred roasted minced garlic
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/3 cup torn fresh basil

Brush vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, over medium heat until tender, 4-5 minutes per side for onion and pepper, 3-4 minutes per side for zucchini and squash.

Separate onion into rings; cut pepper into strips. Spread pizza crust with garlic; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Top with grilled vegetables, then remaining cheese.

Grill pizza, covered, over medium heat until bottom is golden brown and cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes. Top with basil.

9. Easy Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad
Source: Pixabay

Delish.com recommends using homemade dressing for this easy Cobb salad. But, to save even more on time, you can just use store-bought dressing instead.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 – 6 servings

Homemade dressing: 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
12 oz. cooked chicken, diced
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 avocado, thinly sliced
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
5 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. finely chopped chives

Put the homemade dressing ingredients in a jar and shake together.

On a large platter, spread out the lettuce, then add rows of hard-boiled egg, chicken, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with dressing, and garnish with chives.

8. Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice
Source: Pixabay

Time: 40 minutes or less

Cauliflower has been substituted for lots of foods, including mashed potatoes, grits, pizza crust, and even buffalo chicken. And, as I’m sure you know, it makes a great rice substitute as well. That’s what makes this version of one of our favorite takeout foods so healthy.

Prepare the shrimp fried rice dish as you normally would and load it up with tons of healthy vegetables, plus egg, sesame oil, and riced cauliflower.

TIP: To shave even more time off the meal prep, purchase Green Giant frozen riced cauliflower instead of buying a whole head of cauliflower and cutting it yourself.

7. Quick Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew
Source: Pixabay

Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

1 1/2 cups small red potatoes, quartered (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound striped bass fillets
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leek
4 garlic cloves, thinly slice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1/2 cup clam juice
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
24 medium mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Boil potatoes, then drain and set aside.

Preheat broiler to high.

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl. Add fish, skin side down; cook until skin is crisp. Remove from pan; break into 2-inch pieces.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add leek and sliced garlic; sauté until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add water, chicken stock, clam juice, crushed red pepper, kosher salt, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Then, add potatoes, fish, and mussels. Cover and cook for until shells open and fish is done.

Discard any unopened shells, thyme, and bay leaf.

Sprinkle with parsley.

TIP: You can always substitute littleneck clams or shrimp for the mussels.

6. Speedy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan
Source: Pixabay

This eggplant Parmesan recipe from Good Housekeeping uses Japanese-style bread crumbs for maximum crispiness.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, plus 1 egg white
1 cup Japanese-style panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small eggplant (about 12 oz.)
1 16- to 18-oz. package cheese ravioli
1 cup jarred marinara sauce, warmed
Shredded fresh mozzarella, for serving

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Line a large baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Place the flour on a plate and beat the egg and egg white in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl or pie plate, combine the panko, Parmesan, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then toss with olive oil.

Cut the eggplant into long 1/2-inch-thick sticks. Coat the eggplant sticks in flour, then the egg (letting any excess drip off), then coat in the panko mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and roast, turning half way through until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes.

Cook the ravioli. Drain, divide among plates and top with the sauce. Cut the eggplant sticks into pieces and scatter on top of the ravioli. Serve with shredded fresh mozzarella, if desired.

5. Chicken with Lemon Herb Sauce

Lemon Chicken
Source: Pixabay

This chicken with lemon herb sauce recipe from Food Network takes just 25 minutes to make (prep: 10 minutes, cook: 15 minutes) and yields 4 servings.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon Herb Sauce: 1 clove garlic, peeled; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves; 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves; 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper; 1 lemon, zested and juiced; 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the skillet. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on the smooth side of each breast. Place in the skillet seasoned side down and cook without disturbing until brown and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the top side of the chicken and flip. Cook 1 minute over the burner; then transfer the skillet to the oven until chicken registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 to 8 minutes more. Place on a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For the sauce: smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with the salt, and with the side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Transfer to a blender with the parsley, mint, pepper, lemon zest, and juice. Pulse until coarsely chopped and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pour into a small bowl and adjust seasoning. Deglaze pan with the sauce, if desired, and serve with the chicken.

4. Oven-Baked Salmon

Source: Pixabay

Here’s another meal idea from Food Network. It takes 20 minutes (prep: 5 minutes, cook: 15 minutes) and yields 4 servings. And, perhaps best of all, it’s really easy to prepare.

12-ounce salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
Coarse-grained salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted Almond Parsley Salsa, for serving
Baked squash, for serving, optional
Toasted Almond Parsley Salad: 1 shallot, 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar, Coarse grain salt, 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 cup toasted almonds Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet or in a non-stick pan with an oven-proof handle. Bake until salmon is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with the Toasted Almond Parsley Salad and squash, if desired.

For the toasted almond parsley salad: Mince the shallot and add to a small bowl. Pour the vinegar over the shallots and add a pinch of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes. Roughly chop the capers, parsley and almonds and add to the shallots. Add the olive oil, tasting as you go. Mix again and adjust the seasonings.

3. Simple Grilled Steak Fajitas

Source: Pixabay

Shannen Mahoney of Odessa, Missouri, came up with an idea for effortless fajitas, so she sent in this recipe to Taste of Home magazine:

1 beef top sirloin steak (3/4 inch thick and 1 pound)
2 tablespoons fajita seasoning mix
1 large sweet onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium sweet red pepper, halved
1 medium green pepper, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 whole wheat tortillas (8 inches), warmed
Sliced avocado, optional
Minced fresh cilantro, optional
Lime wedges, optional

Rub steak with seasoning mix. Brush onion and peppers with oil.

Grill steak and vegetables, covered, on a greased rack over medium direct heat 4-6 minutes on each side, until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°; medium, 140°; and medium-well, 145°) and vegetables are tender. Remove from grill. Let steak stand, covered, 5 minutes before slicing.

Cut vegetables and steak into strips; serve in tortillas. If desired, top with avocado and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

2. Best-Ever Turkey Burger

Source: Pixabay

What if we told you that you could have a turkey burger that’s as juicy as a traditional burger? Don’t believe us? That’s okay, you don’t have to take our word for it. Just follow this recipe from Delish.com to find out for yourself.

Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

1 lb. 94 percent lean ground turkey
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Hamburger buns
Sliced tomatoes

In a large bowl, mix together turkey, egg, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley, then season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into four flat patties.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add patties and cook until golden and cooked through, 5 minutes per side. Serve on a bun with desired toppings.

1. Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Beef Broccoli
Source: Pixabay

When it comes to preparing a meal in a hurry, it doesn’t get any quicker than stir-fry. That said, here’s a tasty recipe to try from Delish.com.

Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 lb. flank steak
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 head broccoli florets
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and lime juice.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Rub steak with oil and add to skillet. Sear 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a cutting board and slice.

Add sauce to skillet and deglaze pan, then add broccoli. Return steak to skillet and let simmer in sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let simmer 8 to 10 minutes until broccoli and steak are cooked through.

Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with rice.


Your turn! What’s your go-to recipe when you need to prepare a meal in a hurry? Leave a comment below.